Our Swim Team
We are a YMCA and USS Team located in Central New Jersey, sponsored by the Raritan Valley YMCA in East Brunswick, N.J.
Our philosophy and purpose is to provide all participating athletes with the opportunity to achieve their maximum potential, consistent with their level of commitment and motivation, within an atmosphere of spirited competition, positive attitude and self-image, and superior sportsmanship.
The YMCA meet season
Team Structure - The Riptide Swim Team is divided into three separate competing teams:
A Girls Team, a Boys Team, and a Coed Team. Each team competes against other YMCAs within its own division of the NJ YMCA Swim League.
The YMCA winter swim season consists of 4-6 dual meets beginning in November and ending in February. The regular season ends with the State Championship Meet, also in February. The culminating events of the season are the YWCA/YMCA National Championships in April.
Each dual meet provides an opportunity for RVY swimmers to compete against another team of similar ranking. Meets are normally held on Saturdays and all home meets are at North Brunswick High School. Starting times for meets vary. A swimmer's age group is determined by his/her age as of December 1.
Weekly dual meets focus on the TEAM concept. Team spirit, cheering for teammates, positive attitude, and good sportsmanship contribute to the success of the meet, the team, and each of the swimmers. Swimmers are scheduled to swim in events that our coaches feel will contribute most to the team's success in winning the meet.
Parental support, too, is essential, as all efforts for set-up, running the meet, clean-up, and additional meet activities come from our parents. Historically, we have had a wonderful group of parents at RVY whose willingness to "pitch in" has made season after season productive and successful, as well as pleasant and social.
Besides swimming in the NJ "Y" League, our team is a member of US Swimming (USS). USS is a national organization that sets up and runs meets throughout the country, year round. (Click here for the USS Web page.)
Swimmers must join USS annually. Each year we collect the necessary fee and register our swimmers. The swimmer receives a USS "number" which allows him/her to enter USS meets. The USS fee for the 2004/2005 season is $45 per swimmer, or $99 per family. Registration forms are distributed at the parents meeting in October. New swimmers must fill out a registration form while returning swimmers need only pay the renewal fee.
Eligibility in USS meets is usually based on qualifying times and age is determined as of the first day of the meet. A swimmer must have swum an individual stroke with a certain "qualifying" time to be eligible for a meet. Meet qualifying times are usually based on national "A", "B", or "C" standards. Meets are thus generally called A, B, or C meets.
Each age group has national standards for each stroke. Once a swimmer has equaled a stroke standard, he/she may only enter events equal to that standard. For example, if a swimmer makes a "B" breaststroke time, he/she may not swim breaststroke in a "C" meet. However, he/she may swim another stroke in a "C" meet in which he/she has not made a "B" time.
USS meets are INDIVIDUAL swims and are separate from our "Y" meets. Please understand that our coaches cannot possibly attend all USS meets and that responsibility for a swimmer's participation falls with his/her parents. We will post USS meet information on the web site as quickly as it becomes available to us. There are separate fees for each event entered, and we will have one or more parents who will be responsible for the collection of fees and preparation of entries.
Important - USS meets often conflict with the "Y" meet schedule; at NO TIME is it permissible to enter a USS meet which conflicts with the team schedule. These meets are good opportunities for swimmers to work toward personal goals, to try different strokes and distances, and/or to attempt to make qualifying times. Please ask the coach for advice on which strokes to try.
Throughout the season, meets are also scheduled for younger swimmers (usually 6-9 years old). These meets will be posted along with USS meets on the web site.
A swimmer enters events for his/her individual age group. Swimmers at Mini Meets compete not in groups of ages, but only against swimmers of the same age. There are no qualifying times. These are extra meets and the parents are responsible for sign-up and supervision.
The YWCA Junior/Senior Swimming Championships should ultimately be every swimmer's long or short term goal. This meet is usually held in early April at a site that is determined the previous year. The location for the 2006 Nationals is Charlotte, NC. Raritan Valley is very proud of the fact that our participation on the National Team has historically involved approximately 30% of our swimmers in a given season.
This meet is designed to give the opportunity to compete to many more swimmers than comparable meets in other organizations (USS, YMCA, etc). In other words, this meet gives swimmers, who otherwise may never encounter this experience, the opportunity to travel to, and compete in, a big four-day meet. The qualifying times are attainable goals for most junior swimmers (at least 10 years of age) as they approach the age of 13, and for senior swimmers from 14 years of age. These times are posted here.
If going to Nationals is one of a swimmer's goals this season, then it is imperative that the swimmer takes the appropriate steps on his/her way toward making the qualifying times. Initially, each swimmer must make the commitment to attend practices and work hard. After making this commitment, swimmers must give themselves every opportunity, over the course of the season, to swim the events in which they are trying to qualify. This means attending as many extra meets as possible. This is especially important for swimmers in the 10-12 age group, for they are only swimming 50 yard stroke events in dual meets, as opposed to the 100 yard stroke events, 200 IM and 500 free style which are swum at Nationals. Seniors also must give themselves the opportunity to swim in events they may not normally swim in dual meets, such as 200 yard stroke events, 400 IM and 500/1000 yard free styles.
After an intense six week training program from late February to early April, the team travels together and attends the meet sessions together as a team. Parents, meanwhile, are assigned to chaperone duties for meals, afternoon and evening patrols, as well as timing and officiating duties at the meet. All of these responsibilities are divided evenly among the parents, most of which usually attend the meet.
As we are continually dealing with announcements, events, fees, entries, deadlines, etc. during the season, it is extremely important that information gets to everyone. We have several ways to communicate information to you.
The best way to find out about important announcements, team rosters, team schedules, parent assignments for meets, special meet announcements, Nationals information, and a whole variety of other items of interest is right here on the web site. The home page is kept up to date with the latest information. It is essential that you check the web site regularly.
Additionally, we have an emergency contact email list for more time sensitive information, such as practice cancellations due to inclement weather. This list is solely for RVY use, and the email addresses are not given out to anyone else. To have your email address(es) added to the list, simply send an email to Bill Kamm, providing your name and email address, and indicate that you'd like to be put on the Emergency Contact List.
The parents associated with RVY have characteristically been a very sociable group. We have two "official" social events scheduled during the year, the Parents Club Cocktail Party and the Annual Banquet.
The Parents Club Cocktail Party is a perfect way to celebrate another great swim season. It provides an opportunity for new parents to meet and get to know current members. The event is unique in that it is the only one that is "parents only" and is purely social - no work. The proceeds from the cocktail party are also a fund-raiser for the team.
Help us celebrate the finish of another successful RVY swim season at the Annual Banquet, held each year in late April. This family event recognizes all swimmers for their season of accomplishments. Individual times, new team records, special team awards, Nationals awards, a delicious dinner and always a few surprises are the fare for this event. This never fails to be a fun night for the entire family, so keep in mind siblings, grandparents, and aunts and uncles as well. Watch for details toward the end of the regular season and we'll look forward to seeing everyone in April.
All swimmers are required to wear the team suit at meets and, if a swimmer chooses to wear a cap, it must be a team cap. Although goggles are not required, they are highly recommended.
Attending extra meets, such as USS meets, is a very different experience from attending dual meets. USS meets host hundreds of swimmers and in order to manage them all, they use a special system. The following is a list of do's and don'ts to help make this experience a rewarding one:
Be sure to check the swimmer in when you get to the meet. They will scratch swimmers if they aren't sure they are present!
Find the marshaling area (generally a gym is where swimmers wait until it is time to be marshaled).
Listen to announcements in the marshaling area (they generally announce event numbers - nothing is more disappointing than a swimmer missing an event because he/she wasn't paying attention when the event was marshaled).
Bring a sleeping bag or blanket for your swimmer to rest on in the marshaling area - it is sometimes a long wait between events.
Bring several towels - one is frequently not enough.
Be sure your swimmer has warm clothes (sweats) to wear, as the marshaling areas are frequently cool and/or drafty.
Diet and nutrition are important to a swimmer's success. Ensure that your swimmer eats a healthy breakfast (even though these meets often start EARLY!). Snacks between events should be healthy, such as high energy foods and juice rather than candy and soda. It is important that swimmers stay hydrated; therefore, a water bottle is a good idea.
Swimmers do better if they bring something to do while waiting between races. Bring a book, cards, etc. to keep them occupied. Try to avoid expensive items, such as a Gameboy or a Walkman, unless you can secure it while the swimmer is not using it.
Remember, our coaches are present at some meets; however, the ultimate responsibility for swimmers at these meets falls to the parents. We have found it advantageous for parents to take shifts in supervising the swimmers in the marshaling area.
Most of all, encourage your swimmer to put forth his/her best effort. Swimming in the big meets provides a level of competition that usually spurs swimmers to new personal bests. Cheer them on!